AS you would expect from someone who is such an erudite songwriter, Thea Gilmore has some very interesting thoughts on her role as a performer.

“For me an audience gives far more to a performer than they might realise,” said Thea, who comes to Clitheroe Grand next Saturday “To be able to share your songs with an audience and watch them respond in their own individual ways is a great experience. I totally disagree with anyone who thinks that a live show is a one-way experience.”

Thea comes to Clitheroe when her reputation has never been higher.

She followed up an album based on the previously unseen lyrics of Sandy Denny with Rhapsody, the most highly-acclaimed album of a prolific career.

When we speak she reveals she has been spending a lot of time in the studio.

“I am sort of working on an album which I can’t really tell you about,” she says mysteriously. It should be released next year.

“But I’m also spending a lot of time helping my husband Nigel Stonier with his new album.

“He has asked me to produce the vocals on the album and I think that it is really good of him to trust me with something so important.

“I am not a technical producer or an engineer but I know what sounds right.”

A husband and wife working together within the confines of a recording studio might seem like a recipe for disaster but Thea has no qualms about it.

“Oh, we have our moments,” she laughs. “But it is all constructive and we trust each other’s opinions.

“Nigel is extraordinary in that he can hear an entire song in his head before he even enters a studio — down to the individual instruments and the specific rhythms. But he’s also willing to deviate from that if you suggest something which might be better.

“There are some people who will go into the studio without a single song written but I can’t do that. Apart from being a very expensive way of doing things, that’s not really the way I work.

“I also don’t like things to be over-engineered and more and more I don’t think we’re used to hearing proper voices on albums. Everyone seems to be using technology these days to enhance the vocals, which I think is a great shame.

“That is one reason why the live shows are so important to me.

“I love doing them but on top of that it’s a chance to give back to those people who have invested their time and money in buying albums and coming out to see me.”

With a series of dates through May and June, Thea will be touring with Nigel on guitar and piano plus a violinist and a cellist.

“It’s the pared-down version of the full band,” she said. “But it’s nice to strip down songs and approach them differently.”

She’s also not ruling out the odd appearance from her son Egan, seven.

“He genuinely loves it when we’re touring,” she said.

“I would never force him to come along but when I mentioned that we would be touring through his half-term he just shouted, ‘Yeah’, which was great to hear.”

  • Thea Gilmore, Clitheroe Grand, Saturday, May 31. Details from 01200 412599